Farming is a profitable business and they they can make more money if farming operations can be efficiently managed to reduce wastage. It’s important to build healthier soils across your operations by reducing tillage and plant cover crops.
Reduced tillage save farmers money from continuous conventional tillage.
From researches it show that cover crops can and often do lead to annual economic benefits for farmers due to weed suppression.
Planting of cover crops reduces or eliminates this fallow period, providing living roots and aboveground biomass in the wet season to directly compete with weeds.
Cover crop residue block sunlight from weed seeds, providing increased suppression into the cash crop growing season. Some cover crop species are even allelopathic; they produce chemicals that reduce weed seed germination. Allelopathic crops plays an important role in weed suppression by cover crops if other competitive factors are on the same level, the roots of the crops or decomposing residues release compounds in the soil that should be toxic to weeds. Examples are sorghum, rapeseed, cabbage, green beans, cowpea etc.
Cover crops use in soybean, maize and cotton can reduce herbicide use by about 50%.
It can also help in soil moisture retention and weed control thereby reducing herbicide use on farm operation.
3 management decisions farmers must consider in the use of covet crops:-
- Choice of Cover Crops
Farmers should select cover crop species that establish quickly and produce large amounts of biomass so that there will be direct competition between cover crops and weed.
Cover crops is often more effective to grow a specie that quickly establish and a mix of species that collectively provides continuous living vegetation is often recommended for increased weed suppression.
- Consider Seeding Rate
Successful weed suppression depends on rate of cover crop establishment. It’s good to seed cover crops as soon as possible after harvest or shortly before harvest to reduce or eliminate the fallow period when weeds usually establish.
- Ease of Eradication
Cover crop residue can remain in the field long after termination, providing a physical blanket of ground cover that shades out weed seeds and hinders their germination. Rolling high biomass species is one way to effectively create cover. Cover crops should be easily terminated chemically (with herbicides ) or mechanically – use of techniques such as mowing, plowing, undercutting, or rolling).